Chapter 9 on NMT in the CIPT is very clear about the role NMT should play and mentions practical immediate (Table 9.2 Short Term NMT Projects) as well as long-term interventions regarding the NMT network. It is stated (9.3) that “Sections of the cycling network have been completed, but these are not coherent.”
See 2.5 Preferred Future Transport Scenario, especially 2.5.2 Key characteristics of the preferred Scenario under the heading Non-motorised Transport on p 20. We also want to draw attention to the sections on p 17 alluding to “Strive towards car-free living in Stellenbosch”; “Achieve modal shift in the Stellenbosch CBD towards public transport, walkability and cyclability”; ”Creating dignified living spaces in previously disadvantaged areas”.
The CITP quotes the IDP in the manner that its vision of transport should be translated, i.e. (p 9): “Acknowledge and where necessary plan for the role of appropriate non-motorised forms of transport such as walking and cycling…”(Fig 2-2).
The previous CITP echoes the Strategic focus areas of the IDP (p 10). Some of the key action areas that were identified were: Walking and cycling network improvements.
In the light of all of the above:
1. If the principles of car-free living in the CBD and NMT are so strongly emphasized in the CIPT and IDP, why is there such an insignificant budget in the CIPT for NMT – pedestrian and cycling infrastructure? The CITP acknowledges that “Funding allocation for NMT is extremely limited.” (9.5 p 113)
2. According to a rough calculation of the budget in the CITP for NMT in the next ten years it will be approximately 4,5% of the total infrastructure budget and the cycling section about 1,5% of the total infrastructure budget. The Vision and objectives of the CITP and the IDP regarding NMT are not reflected in the budget of the CIDP and the IDP. Why this discrepancy? The local situation looks even worse in the light of the latest practices in many cities of the world, including Nairobi and Bogota and it does not contribute to slowing down the effects of global warming. Is the Municipality of Stellenbosch really serious about its NMT (including cycling and universal access) objectives with the proposed budget? We believe not.
3. How is it possible that the Municipality is investigating a PPP parking garage behind the Town Hall complex in the CBD? How is this compatible with the explicit commitments and declared objective of a car-free CBD? This proposed behemoth will only draw more cars into the CBD and make life more unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. Parking garages should be on the outskirts of the town. ( E.g. Vander Stel terrain). Visually it will be an eyesore.
The Nature of the NMT/Cycling CITP/IDP budget
In the CITP budget the following headings are used: Cycle Plan – Design and
Implementation; Non-Motorised Transport Implementation; Pedestrian Streets in
Stellenbosch; Stellenbosch – Bicycle Network; Bicycle Lockup Facilities. These terms are very vague and non-specific and are even interchangeable. There is therefore no way of sensible public comment on these items neither of evaluating whether the budget has been carried out for specific projects.
Under the term Stellenbosch – Bicycle Network provision is only made for a two year
budget. Does this mean much needed extensions and improvements to the bicycle network, as in Van Riebeeck Street, where there is no network lanes, and Merriman Avenue, are just going to stop at the end of the 2023/24 budget? Surely that cannot be!
Pedestrian Streets in Stellenbosch
What will this entail in the 2024//25 budget? Which streets will be pedestrianised? Will they be bi-directional for bicycles? We are of the opinion that the Woonerf (Home Zone) concept will be much more practical and not as radical as full-on pedestrianisation.
What does a 10 year budget of R31million entail for Non-Motorised Transport
Implementation? Surely such a big budget calls for an extensive public participation project and lively and committed interaction with the present dormant Mobility Forum and NMT Working Group?
What does bicycle lockup facilities of R1,5m mean? Is there a roll-out plan?
It is our considered opinion that the present CITP budget for NMT/Cycling is too vague and too open for arbitrary interpretation. Items should be specified.
We also would request that the pedestrian and cycling capital projects as well as combined NMT projects should have separate items in the budget. At present they are too vague and arbitrary.
We would also like to submit that the amount of R31m for the pedestrian bridge over theR304 at Khayamandi should be reconsidered. Was it requested by die Khayamandi ward committees? Is this the wisest way to spend R31m plus?
Speed Limit and Budget Priorities
The present speed limit of 60 km/h in built-up areas in Stellenbosch is not conducive to furthering NMT. The car-is-king-attitude reflected by the present speed limit and the infrastructure budget allocations contradicts the NMT objectives and plans set out in the CITP and IDP as well as the Woonerf concept.
1. Paint is no protection. In order to increase the modal shift to cycling, proper safe and separated cycle paths must be built (as the Cycle Plan recommends). Unless speed limits are drastically reduced tot 30 or 40 km/h painted cycle lanes in streets like Merriman Avenue, Cluver Road and Martinson Street offer NO protection . These roads are unsafe with cars and trucks closely passing bicycles at 60-80 km/h. The painted lanes in Martinson Street and the lower part of Merriman Street are furthermore too narrow to be safe.
2. We believe that the areas of Stellenbosch that have the highest densities of habitation will benefit the most from a smooth and comprehensive NMT network for internal mobility and mobility between residential areas and to the CBD. It is thus of the utmost importance that these areas should be prioritised for an efficient and coherent NMT network.
3. A big parking garage in the CBD will increase vehicular traffic even more in the clogged CBD and make NMT, especially cycling even more unsafe, discouraging people to cycle and hinder a modal shift to cycling. Parking garages should be on the edge of town.
4. A serious effort Is needed to accelerate the roll-out of the Cycle Plan of 2015 and the NMT Plan of 2022 if the vision, goals and recommendations of the CITP is to be taken seriously. It is much cheaper to build proper Cycling infrastructure than to accommodate car traffic with extended expensive infrastructure, which in many cases harm the historic character of Stellenbosch, like at the bottom of the historic Dorp Street. Dorp Street cannot be widened for cars and trucks, but can make more provision for cycling.
5. How will pedestrians and cyclists be protected in the highly pedestrianised and cycle use area where a four lane road is planned in Merriman and Cluver between Bosman and Banhoek? Please follow the recommendations of the Cycle plan. Item 18.104.22.168 on p.97.
6. We are concerned that the widening of Dorp Street between the R44 and R310 does not make sufficient provision for NMT mobility – cyclists and pedestrians – and may in fact hamper MT mobility in this area because of this overwhelming car-prioitised project, 22.214.171.124, p 98, Fig 7-6.
7. Practical Suggestions:
7.1 The bottle-necks in Van Riebeeck Street need to be seriously addressed to improve NMT (walking, cycling and universal access) in both directions – Eastern suburbs to CBD and schools (both directions) and from CBD to Boland College (both directions). Suggestions: a much lower speed limit and priority to cycling and walking over car traffic.
7.2 Safety for NMT users, especially cyclists need to be seriously considered in
Merriman Avenue, Bird Street, Cluver Road and Martinson Road – all essential
connector routes from residential areas to the CBD and schools.
7.3 All NMT connections to all schools must be made safe for pedestrians and cyclists.
7.4 The proposed and often already approved NMT cycling and pedestrian networks in the central municipal area must be completed as it is often seriously incomplete and hampering a modal shift to NMT. (CITP – Appendix D: Short-term NMT projects for Stellenbosch Municipality. (also 13.6.1)
7.5 The proposed cycle lanes in Merriman Avenue (Bird to R44) will only have value if they are protected by a curb.
The Mobility Forum and the NMT working group are acknowledged by the IDP and the CITP, but neither have been operational for a few years. Both are essential for the necessary public participation (9.8 item 6 and 13.6.2 as well as 1.4 p 3). To say that they are operational is a factual inexactitude…
Periodic Meetings with the NMT Working Group should be held (1.5 p 3). We would again request these to be scheduled regularly – monthly if possible.
Bicycles are not mentioned in the modal split for Stellenbosch (Table 3.1, p 26) This is a very serious omission! The CITP talks about a modal shift towards cycling, but does not mention an objective, e.g. to move it from 2,5 % to 7,5% in five years.
The Municipality of Stellenbosch has the potential to become the national leader in NMT (cycling, walking and universal access) considering the flat typography of much of Stellenbosch town, a compact CBD, a big university, scenic architectural and natural qualities, and two important firsts: an NMT Policy and a Comprehensive Cycling and general NMT plan.
NMT is a strong part of its IDP and CITP vision and objectives. There is already a growing cycling culture.
Stakeholders are organised and are ready to participate in meaningful co-operation to fulfil the dream to help Stellenbosch become the Number 1 Active Mobility local authority in South Africa.
Lastly, we advocate a systematic implementation of the Cycle Plan, approved by Council and endorsed by the Preview, Update and Consolidation of the Stellenbosch NMT Masterplan & Cycle Plan, accepted by Council on 26 Oct 2022, both at great cost.
We deeply regret ad hoc piecemeal projects that are not aligned to the completion these overall plans.
We fully endorse the NMT characteristics of the preferred transport scenario of the CIPT on p20.
The CITP has the last word: The cycling culture in Stellenbosch is growing. Infrastructure for cyclists should therefore be prioritised. Table 7.1, p 91